Pop Perspective: Ariana Grande’s “Dangerous Woman” Rated And Reviewed
At Idolator, the editors share a passion for high-quality pop. Occasionally, our tastes align. Other times, not so much! So, in the spirit of debate, we’ve developed a recurring feature called Pop Perspective. Basically, all of the editors dissect a particularly noteworthy pop event, and give it a rating out of 10.
That way you’re getting a full spectrum of views and we can all vent. (It’s cheaper than therapy!) The latest pop moment to be dragged under the Idolator microscope is Ariana Grande’s new single “Dangerous Woman,” which is already sitting at number one on iTunes. Is the Johann Carlsson-produced anthem another “Problem”-like smash or does it fall flat a la “Focus”? See our thoughts below.
Robbie Daw — 6/10
Sounds like Ariana and her team of hit-making writers and producers have been listening to The Weeknd this time around, rather than Grande’s own “Problem.” That’s a good thing, and as I mentioned elsewhere, “Dangerous Woman,” the title track from Grande’s forthcoming third album of the same name (out May 20), is a rarity in 2016: It’s a pop song with guitars — and an actual guitar solo! For that alone, this is one walk of danger worth taking.
Of course, there’s the undeniable tempo/genre/melody lift from “Earned It” at play here. In fact, you could play the two songs back-to-back and one might seem like the opposing viewpoint to the other.
Summing things up: Bonus points for finally recording a good song again, Ariana. But I’m taking a few away for overall reductiveness.
Carl Williott — 7/10
The inevitable “Earned It” comparisons are ~earned~, but to me that song always felt like some tepid reject from the Great Gatsby soundtrack. “Dangerous Woman” is a much more engaging, lively take on the noir neo-waltz thing, plus the more interesting reference point is its clever little flip of “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.”
Other than the truly unfortunate artwork, Grande keeps her bad habits in check here. She enunciates. She leaves behind horned-up brass. She doesn’t over-sing. Those robot vocals that show up at the end are underutilized, but in that respect, the song leaves me wanting more, which I haven’t felt with one of her singles since “Problem.”
Mike Wass — 6/10
The Little Mumbler Who Could ditches cookie cutter-pop in favor of an alt-leaning mid-tempo jam. Kind of like what Selena Gomez did with “Good For You,” which takes us to Ariana’s second biggest problem (after the whole enunciation issue). She still hasn’t found her own lane. From mini-Mariah to The Weeknd-lite, her influences remain a little too obvious. This is a decent song, but I still have no idea who the 22-year-old is as an artist or what she stands for musically.
AVERAGE SCORE: 6.3/10